desperate

adjective
des·​per·​ate | \ ˈde-sp(ə-)rət How to pronounce desperate (audio) , -spərt\

Definition of desperate

1a : having lost hope a desperate spirit crying for relief
b : giving no ground for hope the outlook was desperate
2a : moved by despair or utter loss of hope victims made desperate by abuse
b : involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration made a desperate leap for the rope
3 : suffering extreme need or anxiety desperate for money desperate to escape celebrities desperate for attention
4 : involving extreme danger or possible disaster a desperate situation
5 : of extreme intensity … a desperate languor descended heavily upon her, and she slept …— Elinor Wylie

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Other Words from desperate

desperateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for desperate

Synonyms

despairing, despondent, forlorn, hopeless

Antonyms

hopeful, optimistic

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Choose the Right Synonym for desperate

despondent, despairing, desperate, hopeless mean having lost all or nearly all hope. despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. despondent about yet another rejection despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child desperate implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. one last desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Examples of desperate in a Sentence

The collapse of her business had made her desperate. As the supply of food ran out, people became desperate. We could hear their desperate cries for help. a desperate struggle to defeat the enemy He made a desperate bid to save his job. They made one last desperate attempt to fight their way out.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Understanding why requires a journey into the intricacies of Israel’s raucous electoral system—and shows how desperate Israel’s clashing political blocs are for every vote in an election that pollsters expect to be tight. Lahav Harkov, WSJ, "Why Cannabis Legalization Could Decide Israel’s Next Prime Minister," 4 Apr. 2019 What this means to you: The timing of this is a little peculiar, since one part of Microsoft is desperate to migrate the Windows 7 user base to Windows 10. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft ports DirectX 12 to Windows 7, giving some older PC games a performance boost," 13 Mar. 2019 And for those who are more desperate to enter, well, Trump has perhaps not considered the fact that America is a city with two enormous coasts, which immigrants are increasingly turning to for entry. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Trump's Wall Won't Work," 22 Feb. 2019 To Peron — a French national who spent much of 1968 as a foreign exchange student in Schenectady, N.Y., before relocating to Hamburg — German youth at the time were desperate to remake their own culture. James Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "For krautrock icons Faust, the revolution goes on," 11 July 2018 Currently, companies and laboratories in the U.S. are desperate to employ STEM qualified and inspired women. Bonnie J. Dunbar, Scientific American, "Sally Ride’s Legacy Lives On," 18 June 2018 Many members were desperate to believe that the President had either been referring to another bill or would reverse course later in the day -- while conservatives cheered the President as rightfully demanding changes to the bill. Lauren Fox, Tal Kopan And Ashley Killough, CNN, "Republicans scramble to understand if Trump just sunk their immigration effort," 15 June 2018 In the near future of Ninth Step Station, Tokyo experiences a massive disaster that leaves it in shambles, desperate for international aid. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Two unlikely cops are paired up to solve murders in a war-torn Tokyo in Ninth Step Station," 8 Dec. 2018 Indeed, one of the best scenes in the film comes right at the beginning, when Jack, desperate for a drink, stumbles into a gay bar on drag night. Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, "Lady Gaga Opens Up About A Star Is Born, MeToo, and a Decade in Pop," 10 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desperate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desperate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for desperate

Latin desperatus, past participle of desperare — see despair entry 2

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Statistics for desperate

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desperate

The first known use of desperate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for desperate

desperate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of desperate

: very sad and upset because of having little or no hope : feeling or showing despair
: very bad or difficult to deal with
: done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding

desperate

adjective
des·​per·​ate | \ ˈde-spə-rət How to pronounce desperate (audio) , -sprət\

Kids Definition of desperate

1 : very sad and worried and with little or no hope People became desperate for food.
2 : showing great worry and loss of hope a desperate call for help
3 : giving little reason to hope : causing despair a desperate situation
4 : reckless because of despair : rash He made a desperate attempt to escape.
5 : very severe The injury is in desperate need of attention.

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Comments on desperate

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